Welcome to the DIRECT Europe Accepted Student Information page! Navigate the tabs below for everything you need to know before your epic adventure!
To navigate back to your portal for payments, forms and due dates, click the My Account button above.
Stay on track for your summer adventure with the pre-departure checklist. Print it out, share with your parents and cross off items as you complete them. Please note some items may only apply to specific locations, and this is noted where applicable.
Are flights included in the program fee?
International airfare is not included in your program fee. You have several options when booking flights:
- Book your own ticket that is on the same itinerary as the recommended group flight
- Book your own flights on any itinerary that is most convenient for you (be sure to note your arrival/departure dates and times as this may affect your airport transfer)
All flight details can be found in the flights section below!
Will LeadAbroad staff be on my flight?
Since our staff will already be in abroad preparing for your arrival, we will not have any staff at the departure airport or on flights abroad. However, a student will be taking attendance at the gate and helping students connect with each other before the flight. Should you have questions or problems with your flight, we strongly recommend you speak with an airline representative at the airport as they will be able to assist. Our on-call, U.S. based staff is available for any itinerary changes that will impact your arrival.
I am not arriving on the group flight. Will someone meet me at the airport in Prague?
Yes! As long as you are arriving on the official start date, LeadAbroad staff will greet you at the airport. Depending on your arrival time, you may be responsible for your own transportation cost to the hotel. We will arrange this transfer for you, and you will pay the driver directly. If this applies to you, we will be in touch before departure to confirm your arrival plans!
What happens if I miss my flight or it is canceled/delayed?
- Step 1: Do not stress. These things happen! 🙂
- Step 2: Work with an airline rep at the airport to be rebooked.
- Step 3: As soon as you have a new itinerary, complete the new flight plan form linked in your pre-departure newsletter. We will be in touch to confirm any details.
Where can I find a packing list?
Click here to jump down to the packing section of this page for all the details!
What kind of weather should I pack for?
Summers in Europe can be very hot. Lightweight summer clothes are strongly recommended.
Do I have to bring my laptop?
No, you do not need to bring a laptop for this program. In fact, we encourage you not to bring one. If you do bring one, please be sure to bring a lock to secure it in your baggage when not in use.
Should I pack sheets/linens/towels/hangers?
Nope! Your room will have all of the above.
Health & Safety
Is travel insurance included? What about health insurance?
LeadAbroad does not offer a travel insurance plan. All students will be covered under LeadAbroad’s health insurance for the duration of the program. Details can be found in the Health & Insurance section of “Pre-Departure Info.”
Do I need shots before traveling abroad?
Can I bring my prescription medication abroad?
If you pack prescription medication, be sure it is in the original prescription bottle. We also recommend researching the medication to better understand any restrictions in the place we’re traveling. Your doctor will be a great resource in finding this information.
Pharmacies abroad will not accept foreign prescriptions. If you anticipate needing a prescription refill while abroad, speak with your doctor about getting enough medication for the duration of your trip. Alternatively, our staff can assist with a local doctor’s visit to receive a local prescription.
Budgeting & Finances
Are meals included?
Breakfast is included at our hotels. We will also have a welcome dinner and final dinner together as a group.
How much spending money should I budget for the trip?
Click here for a budgeting worksheet. You should have a realistic conversation with your parents in the application process to discuss spending habits and budgeting while you are abroad. While spending can vary widely, LeadAbroad recommends $40/day as a baseline budget for meals and incidentals.
Should I bring U.S. cash? Debit cards? Credit cards?
LeadAbroad strongly recommends you bring two ways to access money: a debit card for ATM withdrawals and a credit card as a backup. We do not recommend exchanging U.S. dollars for local currency as it is very difficult to find a place to exchange and the exchange rate is typically better when you withdraw from an ATM. You should plan on getting cash out an ATM once you arrive in Cape Town.
Do I need a visa?
U.S. citizens are not required to obtain a visa to visit Europe if you stay for 90 days or less. When entering a foreign country, you will be considered a tourist and not a student since you are not enrolling in a foreign university.
If you are NOT a U.S. citizen, be sure to research entry requirements based on the country that issued your passport. You may be required to obtain a visa.
For more information on visa and passport requirements, review the passports section below!
How can I use my phone abroad?
The best way to use your phone abroad is with a local SIM card. Before departure, make sure your phone is unlocked by your carrier so you can use another SIM card. Contact your carrier if you’re not sure if your phone is unlocked.
Upon arrival, your staff will direct you to the nearest locations to buy a local SIM card.
When will I know my roommate assignment? Can I request a roommate change?
We can change roommates up to 30 days before departure. Roommate requests are entered on the general form linked on this page. If you’ve already completed this form and would to change your request, please email info@LeadAbroad.com.
Final roommates will be released 30 days before departure. No changes can be made after this time.
Can I receive packages/mail while abroad?
General letters and mail can be received at the hotel while you’re abroad; however, we strongly discourage the mailing of valuable packages (cameras, cell phones, medication, etc) to students while abroad. You will have to pay taxes on the item in order for it to clear customs, and it often takes many days for the process to be completed which delays delivery. Depending on what is being sent, the taxes may be very high (sometimes more than the value of the item itself).
Get Ready to Take Off
Pricing for next year’s program coming soon!
The LeadAbroad team will support you every step of the way when planning your flights! Please review the sections below as well as the flights FAQ section above for information on the official group flight and tips for booking flights independently.
Important dates for DIRECT Europe:
- Coming soon!
Airport greeting and transfer information
In order to arrive in country rested and ready to go, consider the following tips to make your flight experience as enjoyable as possible:
- Print ALL of your flight itineraries for the trip and have them easily accessible.
- Do not start your trip stressed. GET TO THE AIRPORT EARLY. For most international flights, we recommend that you arrive at the airport at least three hours prior to departure.
- Weigh your bags before you leave home. Check baggage size and weight restrictions for ALL AIRLINES you might be flying during the program. Smaller budget airlines abroad usually have stricter baggage policies than the larger U.S.-based carriers.
- Pack the following items in your carry-on. If your checked baggage takes an adventure of its own, having these items with you will create less stress and allow for a more comfortable plane ride:
- Two days worth of clothes
- Laptop, cell phone, chargers, other electronics
- Water bottle/Nalgene
- Blindfold and ear plugs if you are sensitive to light/sound when trying to sleep on planes
- Program director’s phone number
- Dorm address
- Be comfortable on the plane. Dress in layers so that you can easily adapt to the temperature.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluid while in the air. It is easy to become dehydrated when flying.
- Know where your passport is at all times. When checking in at the airport, you will have to get your passport in and out of your bag several times; at each stop, be sure to take a moment for a passport check.
- Reset your watch. As soon as you board the plane, reset your watch to the local time and try to get on a sleeping pattern that is consistent with your destination. Most students traveling will be on an overnight flight and you will be very grateful if you sleep. Also, remember that if you have to take medications at a certain time during the day or at the same time everyday you might need to adapt this prior to departure.
- Make special meal requests if necessary. If you have any special requests, be sure to contact the airline at least 72 hours prior to departure.
- Make sure you have a pen for any immigration forms. Flight attendants usually distribute arrival forms shortly after take-off. On these forms, note that you are a tourist, not a student.
To apply for a U.S. passport, click here. If you are not a U.S. citizen, be sure to thoroughly research passport and visa requirements for citizens of your home country.
If you already have a U.S. passport, check to confirm the following:
- the expiration date is 2022 or beyond
- the passport has at least two consecutive blank pages
- Your name is spelled correctly
If your passport does not have all requirements above, you must renew your passport before traveling abroad.
All students are required to submit passport information via the passport form in the LeadAbroad portal 60 days before departure. Please do not submit a passport that is expired or in the process of being renewed. When your new passport arrives, you can then submit your form.
Students are REQUIRED to watch all LeadAbroad orientations and submit corresponding forms in the online portal. Videos and due dates are linked below.
Pre-Departure Orientation: All Programs (coming soon!)
- Due date: 60 days before departure
- Form to submit in your portal by due date: Pre-Departure Form
- Link to orientation slides will be posted here
Pre-Departure Orientation: DIRECT Europe Specific (coming soon!)
- Due date: 30 days before departure
- Form to submit in your portal by due date: Orientation: Program-Specific Form
- Link to orientation slides will be posted here
To ensure we have the tools to support you before and during the program, we have several short forms that must be completed between 30 and 60 days before departure. Please access your portal for all required forms and due dates.
Students are required to order a DIRECT notebook and complete one short, fun assignment prior to departure.
To order your journal, please click here. (Link will posted by April)
We recommend placing your order as soon as possible to allow yourself time for shipping and to complete the assignment. It is required that all students bring the program workbook abroad this summer for use on the program.
Students have two options for ordering the program workbook:
- Order online and pay with Paypal
- Order over the phone with a credit card
It is important that you select the correct item (do NOT buy Blue Book) and indicate your shipping address. If you need expedited shipping (2-3 business days or less), call BelJean bookstore directly rather than placing your order online. Students who prefer picking their program workbook at BelJean do so during normal store hours at the following address:
163 E Broad St
Athens, GA 30601
One of the first workshops you will participate in is examining your “signature strengths.” All students must complete this assessment before departure.
Click here for a link to the assessment and your unique access code (link coming soon!)
BEFORE STARTING, PLEASE NOTE:
- Only begin the assessment when you have 20-30 minutes to complete in one sitting. You will not be able to log back in or restart if you exit out.
- Print your results and bring it with you abroad.
- Submit your top 5 strengths on the Strengths Assessment Form in your portal
If you do not see your name on the list of access codes, please email info@LeadAbroad.com to request your code.
Applications will be posted by April 2020
What are program leaders?
On the LeadAbroad team, the program staff are the coaches and program leaders are the team captains – they set the tone and encourage other students by creating a strong sense of community through service projects, social outings, group chats and creative stories. They are the peer leaders who step up when needed and make other students feel included. Whether you’re joining us on GO, LEAD, DIRECT or PRO, our program leaders will help make your experience abroad impactful and lasting.
Why should I apply?
The more you put in, the more you get out. That’s why we have 3 awesome leadership opportunities on your program abroad. Whether you are your squad’s go to party planner, you’re passionate about giving back or you’re a wizard with video editing, we’d love to invest in you and your talents!
We have three types of program leaders on DIRECT, so there are multiple ways to plug in on the ground.
Community Leader (apply online through your portal): Are you a leader on campus or interested in becoming one in the future? Do you feel like you’re the “ringleader” of your crew & want to take your skills abroad? Our Community Leader (CL) program is an awesome way to make the most of your summer experience with leadership 101 training, resume boosts and serving as a peer leader on the program. CLs will experience an extra level of investment from our staff (and fun invites), opportunities for social media highlights and a connection with other like-minded students on the program.
Service Leader (apply online through your portal): Do you have experience as a camp counselor or are majoring in education? Are you involved in service organizations on your campus? Apply to be a Service Leader on your program & you can help with the planning, preparation and execution of our service projects on the ground! Not only will you get more investment from the staff & get more out of our time serving, but it looks great on your resume.
Media Leader (apply online through your portal): “If its not on camera, it didn’t happen” is your mantra. Are you someone who makes videos for every trip you go on? Do you have a “fancy” camera for special events or have an interest in photography? Are you already planning out your end-of-program video or following local photographers on Instagram? Sign up to be a media leader & put your skills to use!
Ready to dive into this leadership role? Apply in your portal before the deadline!
We will introduce our summer program staff in February!
Click here for roommate assignments (posted 30 days before departure)
To request a roommate, please submit the roommate form in your online portal. Roommate forms are due 60 days before departure. Final housing assignments will be posted about one month before departure. Once roommates are posted, we cannot make any changes. If you’ve already submitted your roommate form but wish to make a change to your request, please email info@LeadAbroad.com no later than 60 days before departure.
All students will receive an invitation to join the program itinerary on Trip Plans. Please follow the instructions as soon as you receive this email (expected mid April).
This worksheet will allow you to understand costs outside of the program fees and airfare. Review this section in detail and email us at info@LeadAbroad.com with any further budgeting questions.
Before you leave, call your bank and credit card company to notify them that you will be traveling abroad. Give them the dates and countries of your itinerary, including any layovers. Debit and credit cards can been blocked after transactions abroad because your bank may assume it is a fraudulent transaction.
To access funds, debit cards are the best way to access cash overseas. ATM machines are widely available everywhere we travel. Debit cards with Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus or Plus signs are the most widely accepted. There may be a transaction fee for using ATMs abroad; therefore, it’s important to understand the fees associated with using your cards overseas. Keep a record of your debit card and pin numbers with someone at home.
Credit cards can be used similarly to debit cards at restaurants and shops abroad. Most major credit cards are honored abroad (i.e. MasterCard and Visa). Similarly to debit cards, credit card companies use the current exchange rate for your transaction. Call your credit card company to understand the fees charged per transaction.
We recommend that students do not bring large sums of US dollars with them to Europe. It is not convenient to exchange money and students typically get a poor exchange rate. Using your debit card is the best option. We recommend that students do not bring traveler’s checks. Most businesses will not accept them.
The program fees cover most of the costs of being in country, but you will need to provide additional funds for:
- Meals: We will have weekly program dinners. Breakfast and dinner is provided everyday on the Garden Route. All other meals are your responsibility.
- Incidentals: Internet, phone calls, transportation to non-program events
- Free time: Independent evenings and additional adventure outings
- Gifts and souvenirs
Budgeting can be a challenging and personal process. On average, if you eat all the group meals, cook in your apartment for breakfast and lunch, go out for dinner, drink mostly water, occasionally take taxis and keep additional activities to a minimum; you will spend between $25 and $40 per day. Know yourself and your budget plan to avoid any surprises. Here are some sample local costs to help you plan:
Meals: Costs for dining out are similar to those in the US; typically, prices for dinner range from $15-$25. Most people spend about $20-30 per day on food. Each country we visit has a range of restaurants from five-star dining to casual chain restaurants. All student apartments are equipped with a full kitchen and there is a grocery store within walking distance; this will make eating-in a very easy option for lunch and some evenings. Food is part of European culture and should be enjoyed.
To charge your electronics abroad, will need pack (or purchase when you arrive) an outlet adaptor. A quick search on Amazon will provide several options! For some items like hair dryers and straighteners, you will also need to purchase a voltage converter since voltage is much higher in Europe than the US. If you do not use a converter, you could damage your appliance.
We encourage students to be mindful of their electronics while traveling. It is wise to conceal electronic devices when walking around as iPhones and laptops can be attractive for theft.
LeadAbroad strongly encourages students to be mindful of their health prior to departure and while abroad. Living in a new environment, eating different cuisine and adjusting to a new schedule can impact one’s immune system. Before you travel overseas, students should examine the factors that contribute to their physical and emotional wellbeing so that they can stay healthy and get the most out of their trip.
- Read and understand the CDC recommendations for your upcoming travel. The CDC website includes information on vaccines, medicines, packing lists as well as information to prepare students to stay healthy and safe.
- Make an appointment with your university’s travel clinic, dentist and other medical professionals. Students can proactively eliminate many potential health issues by ensuring they are in good health prior to departure. Additionally, during these visits, make sure your health records and prescriptions (including eyeglasses) are up-to-date. If you are taking a prescription medication, please ensure that you have enough for the whole program and that the medication is in the original container. If you self-inject prescribed medication, please carry needles and syringes with you. It’s important to understand that LeadAbroad will not distribute any form of prescription or nonprescription medication to students. We recommend every student travel with a medical kit.
- Be honest with yourself regarding your emotional health. Students that are concerned about their emotional stability or use of alcohol/drugs should address it honestly before making plans to travel. Contrary to many people’s expectations, travel does not minimize these problems; in fact, it can often exacerbate them.
- Contact us directly at info@LeadAbroad.com with any specific medical issues we should be aware of at least three months prior to departure. Our team is better equipped to support you abroad if we know your health history and emotional health. Please share this information with us prior to departure.
Basic medical insurance is included in all students’ program fee. Please review the policy to become knowledgeable regarding the types of medical conditions and situations that are covered while you are participating in DIRECT Cape Town. If you are injured or ill while you are abroad and need medical attention, you will likely need to pay for the treatment upfront, and if covered the money will be reimbursed by LeadAbroad’s insurer after submitting your claims form. If for any reason you need to seek medical assistance while abroad, a LeadAbroad staff member will accompany you to the doctor. Please contact us first if you have any sort of emergency.
It’s important to note that this medical insurance is not ‘travel insurance’ and therefore does not cover the cost lost or stolen luggage or cancellation of the trip. Students may purchase travel insurance independently through an outside provider. For more information on the different types of travel insurance you can click here.
LeadAbroad’s Emergency Response Protocol provides a system for coordinating the management of emergency services for all participants in our study abroad programs. In-country staff are the first point of contact for students on the program in the event of an emergency and assume leadership of the emergency situation until other resources (e.g., local police, etc) are available. However, in the event that the staff are unavailable, the following guidelines are provided here in case you, as a participant in the program, need to handle an emergency.
- Ensure safety: Your first priority is to safeguard the safety and well-being of yourself and other program participants. Do whatever is reasonably necessary to ensure safety.
- Seek medical care: Obtain any emergency medical care for affected participants as soon as possible.
- Control emotions: Remain as calm as possible. Do your best to diffuse any growing anxieties that may be occurring among participants.
- Communicate (as applicable). Depending on the nature of the emergency, it may be necessary to contact medical or emergency services, police or local law enforcement or the US embassy.
- Ongoing support: Continue to monitor, aid, and communicate status updates as the situation progresses.
- Debrief: Meet with LeadAbroad staff to discuss the situation, how it was handled and steps that were taken to resolve the emergency.
Reducing Risk Abroad
LeadAbroad takes many steps to reduce risk abroad. You will be registered with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. The benefits of STEP include the following:
You will be given a keychain with emergency contact numbers and the address of our accommodations.
Please review the following resources to ensure that you are informed on how to have a safe and healthy trip abroad: